Installment No. 32
By the time German pulled his Pathfinder to the side of the road he was all too ready to get Sofia the hell out of the area. A quick trip deeper into the woods, a little fanning, and he had her scent. Not long after, she was in his sights. The setting sun illuminated her in a hazy, golden glow, turning her into something mythical, her red hair dark as blood. If he’d had his tail, the damned thing would have been whipping in circles he was so glad to see her.
“Hey,” he said, his breath escaping him because she’d snagged it. Half a second later he had her scooped in his arms, his face buried under that blood red hair, his lips and teeth worrying the curve of her neck. Marking her.
Shit. German eased her out of his arms, putting her feet back on the ground as heat rose to his face. “Sorry.” Even though she’d been pliant. More than that, she’d curled against him, her fingers biting into his shoulders so she could hold on. Christ, the sensations almost buckled his knees.
He set her away from him before wiping his hand over the shit eating grin bursting on his face. “I got the car.” His head bobbed like a moron. Sofia beamed at him, yet seemed as shy about their exuberant display as he was.
“Didn’t give me too much trouble.” He hadn’t given him much grief at all, not even when he’d asked for Sofia’s things, like the guy was guilty and anxious to be done with the mess. German offered him no words of comfort, no forgiveness. The guy was guilty. Charlie was why Sofia had shot her dog. If she hadn’t, the farmer would have. So, no, German didn’t go out of his way to say everything was fine.
Nobody came to speak to him while he was putting their stuff in the SUV, either. Not a single soul said they were sorry. The bird-girl stayed in the kitchen and he was glad for it. After all, what would he say to her? Thanks for being a fucking fuck. Not very articulate, but returning to the farm only served to remind him how much he hated humans, how happy he’d been roving around in the woods with Sofia.
The Pathfinder’s keys jangling in his hand reminded him, too, of what he was really doing: it wasn’t just collecting stuff. It was getting ready to turn Sofia over to the Alphas in exchange for his freedom. Ironic as hell, but he didn’t think it was funny.
“All right then. Let’s go.” Her face shined up at him, expectant. German’s stomach fell, leaving him too hollow.
“Yeah. The car’s this way.” He took her hand, not realizing he was doing it until the warmth and softness of her skin filled the hole in his guts like a gushing tidal wave. Suddenly, he was suffused with the happiness he’d felt when he’d first laid eyes on her a few minutes before.
Her fingers curled tight around his.
They’d been driving south on Route One for a while before Sofia said anything. “You got heated seats in this thing?” Her window was down, the wind pushing her hair along her cheeks, the setting sun lighting her fair skin. She was so beautiful and didn’t even know it.
“You hot, Red?”
“A little.” Pink crept up her cheeks, competing with the setting sun. “More than a little actually,” she confessed.
“Go ahead and take your clothes off. Nobody’s watching.”
“I’m watching the road. See?”
She retorted by lifting one eyebrow. Which he saw because he was not, in fact, watching the road. “Tart.”
He barked his laugh. So he was, more than she knew. Yet, her smile wouldn’t let him brood. In fact, he was too preoccupied with basking in the easy way they rode side by side. It was the same as when they’d been hiking: together, but with something big surrounding them and only them. Like they were protected in some bubble, and all the rest of the world didn’t matter.
An illusion. Life could still bite them both on the ass. As a matter of fact, it was sharpening its razor teeth as they cruised west, straight into its jaws. Yep. He’d better enjoy this now while he could because the happy sunshine sure as hell wasn’t going to last.
And it didn’t. Several miles later and Sofia was squirming in her seat, trying not to be obvious about it. Not to hover, he pretended to concentrate on the road. Not that he could say what they’d just passed if he got quizzed on it. The rogue beside him was where his focus was. She was now inhaling breaths like she was trying to cure the hiccups.
He could barely stand it. “You going to be able to ride this one out, Red?”
She nodded, but her eyes told him the truth. His foot gained weight like he wore a cement shoe, and he scanned the flashing scenery for a good place to ditch the vehicle. And themselves. They didn’t need witnesses.
A fissure in the tree line and he was cutting the Pathfinder at a right angle down a narrow road with ruts so deep he figured the ground was going to eat the muffler and his gas tank. Thank Nissan for the skid plate. Spruce boughs slapped at the exterior like a hundred angry ravens’ wings, scratching off the paint job.
But screw it. Sofia was ripping close, her scent so thick in the confined space of the car as to be physical. He felt it on his skin, tasted it on his tongue, and his cock lengthened until it hurt. If he claimed her, it wasn’t going to be gentle when he did.
But he couldn’t think of that. He had a woman in the passenger seat whose pupils were so huge her eyes were black. He jammed the vehicle into Park, leapt out, and skidded across the hood to the passenger side to help her out.
Sofia’s body was a flame burning so hot it was clarifying her blood, refining her wolf scent. German’s cock bucked like a bass caught on a fisherman’s hook. Holding that body next to his? Torture. The invisible thread bounding him to his red wolf was a fucking steel band piercing his skin, his guts, his heart, and he needed her to be him. The physical extension of himself which would render his being complete.
As if she felt it too, her mouth encased his windpipe. His hand groped madly for his zipper to relieve the God-awful pain.
Then she uttered the single word that stopped him dead: Mine.
She claimed him.
She. Claimed. Him.
And German could not harm this creature who owned him from the bare skin of his toes to the black tips of his fur. He did the only thing he could do for her, and the muscles of his heart rent it to a bloody blob in his stricken chest. He pulled away from the red wolf who was claiming him as hers.
She was changing into another being, for Luna’s sake. For the first time. It didn’t matter if she wanted to mate with him right then. He knew better. He had seen too many first times with other rogues.
They freaked out.
The brain, so long wired to see itself one way, couldn’t cope with what its body was doing. It couldn’t translate the new information it was receiving. The wolf’s body, by sheer existence, placed demands. It moved its paws but needed to know where. It wagged its tail but needed to know why. Body and brain required symbiosis to function.
German had yet to see that happen.
Except, so far, with Sofia. He hadn’t been lying when he’d said she was a natural. And it boded well for the both of them.
First, and by far most importantly, for Sofia’s sake. Of any rogue, or born wolf-person he’d ever met, she was the one who had earned her fur. She was the one who’d endured years of living as wolf within the confines of her human body and the human world around her. Yet she’d never succumbed, had never lost touch with her essential self.
Second, but not less important in his estimation? She was also the only rogue he’d known who carried within her soul a wolf song. For him. Which meant she’d been born connected to the wolf-people somehow, and he didn’t mean just because of her blood. She would have had to have heard the wolves singing at her birth.
What in the hell, then, was she doing stuck in the middle of a Territory that hadn’t known wolves for nearly a century?
Forget it. He had other things to concentrate on. Like the woman writhing in front of him. She was completely changing, and he was scared to death for her. His thoughts orbited around the woman who…
Oh. Shit. Luna, have mercy on my hide.
…spread herself to welcome him.
She was a Temptress. A Siren. The Destroyer of what little self-control he had. Within a few mesmerizing seconds, her shift was fully realized and he forgot to breathe. Sofia’s red fur shined as magnificent as he’d imagined for too many sleepless nights. Her wolf body was lithe and strong on slender paws. German’s spine sparked and a fire lit under his human skin, his claws pressing on the tips of his fingers.
Then Sofia’s beautiful gray eyes rolled, and her ears flattened as her tail sucked itself to her underbelly.
Sofia panicked. Floundered her legs and paws, and snapped her teeth as if she tried to talk, and German’s heart flailed punches against his ribcage like an amateur boxer in the first round. He muckled her without even thinking about it, lashed his arms around her until her wolf body was flattened against his chest.
She froze in his embrace, heaved against his crushing arms to take in a great breath, then howled German’s song at the sky like her life depended on it.
German’s tears loosed and streamed down his face in a beatific baptismal of this—his woman as wolf.
~Installment No. 33 coming Tuesday, March 4, 2014.